Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men during their lifetimes – making it obvious the importance of regular prostate exams. In this guide we shall look at the age guidelines related to prostate exams.
When should you begin having prostate exams?
It has been recommended that regular prostate exams should begin at the age of 50. However, there are certain factors that may mean that you are recommended to have them earlier – from the late 30’s into the 40’s.
If men have a strong family history of prostate cancer or are in a high risk category for the disease then they will usually start prostate exams at the age of 40.
It is important to have a prostate exam as soon as you reach one of these starting ages so that your doctor has a base result through which they can compare later examinations too. By performing an exam on your healthy prostate it is easier to recognize when any abnormalities or changes have occurred in the area.
Studies have shown that men should not have prostate exams after the age of 75 – or once they have less than a 10 year life expectancy as the risks start to outweigh the benefits of the exam.
How often should you have a prostate exam?
Different medical organizations and professionals have differing opinions on the frequency of prostate exams – none deny that they are very important in detecting problems such as prostate cancer early on.
The general consensus of medical professionals is that men over the age of 50 should be having a prostate exam at least annually. However, as you get older or if your doctor suspects you are at a high risk of prostate cancer then you may be recommended to have more regular prostate exams.
African-American men for example are at a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white Americans, so for them it is recommended that annual prostate exams begin at the age of 40. If you have persistent urinary symptoms you may too be required to begin prostate exams at an earlier age.
The best thing to do is speak with your physician about how often they think you need a prostate exam doing. For those who are at a very low risk they may just suggest you have one every few years.
How do the risks of prostate cancer increase with age?
As men get older their risk of prostate cancer significantly increases. At the age of 20 there is only a 2 percent chance of developing prostate cancer – yet at 80 years old the risk is almost 85 percent.
Age is one of the most significant factors affecting prostate cancer risk. After the age of 40 men’s risk of prostate cancer increases exponentially each year.
Some medical researchers believe that every man would develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives – however other things such as old age and other causes kill them before prostate cancer develops in them.
Prostate cancer is so rare in men under the age of 35 that there are no statistics regarding their incidences.
After the age of 40 the prostate gland begins to enlarge. This growth is usually benign and may cause increases in the prostate-specific antigen level. As the prostate enlarges more prostatic cells are being produced making the prostate tissue more susceptible to malignancies or abnormalities as the person gets older.
Without regular prostate exams it is very hard to detect prostate cancer early – as the symptoms are either very mild or non-existent meaning the man has no cause for concern or reason to have it looked at. As most prostate cancers grow incredibly slowly – many men only find out that they have prostate cancer when it’s too late.
Other factors that can affect your risk of prostate cancer include: family history, race, heredity, diet and lifestyle. Whilst the majority of these factors are not controllable – it is recommended that to minimize your risk of prostate cancer that you live a healthy and active lifestyle.